There are a million childhood memories, songs and lunchtime favorites I could site in my introduction to making peanut butter, but I'll skip the trip down memory lane and just say this – you should be making your own peanut butter.
For those of you who enjoy natural peanut butter, skip the jar and recreate your favorite brand at home; it's not that difficult. Armed with a food processor, you can add just about anything that gives your favorite natural brand its signature taste and texture.
For those of you who relish that classic jar of Jiff, Skippy or Peter Pan, I say take a walk on the health nut side and do something good for yourself. Some say natural/home made peanut butter is an acquired taste…I suggest you acquire it. If not for taste's sake, then for health's sake. What better way to regulate the amount of hydrogenated oils, salt and sugar you put in your body?
The basic recipe is simple. Start with two cups of shelled, roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted will work, or you may want to start with unsalted, so you can add a small amount of salt later to taste). Add the peanuts to your food processor and begin blending. The process will take a few minutes, as the peanuts go from grainy to a smoother consistency. Stop your blender every minute and scrape the sides, making sure all the peanuts are well chopped; this takes about 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, add a tablespoon of oil (I recommend peanut or vegetable oil) and/or a tablespoon of honey through the top of the processor, while it's blending. These will help bind the nuts together and give the peanut butter a smoother consistency. You can add more oil or honey as you check the consistency of the peanut butter every minute.
When you're happy with the consistency, taste the peanut butter and decide what other ingredients you may want to add. For chunky peanut butter, hand chop some peanuts and add them to the mixture. You can also stir in salt, or add more honey or agave nectar and give it another 30 seconds or so in the food processor. The final product will be just over a cup of smooth, creamy peanut butter.
Things to do with your peanut butter:
-This recipe has the perfect texture for a peanut butter cup recipe. I tried Chowhound's Peanut Butta Cups and devoured them (I couldn't find couverture chocolate, but a bag of Ghirardelli's milk chocolate chips was a good substitute).
-Skip the takeout- make your own Thai. Add your peanut butter to this tasty thai peanut sauce recipe and toss over salad or rice noodles, or serve with satay.
-Why mess with a classic? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.